Market overt

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To buy something 'in market overt' is to buy from an established, recognized street market or open-air trading area. Since the middle ages this form of purchase has been treated differently to others for the purposes of Passage of title. A person who buys from such a place always obtains good title to the goods, even if the seller's title is worthless. This means, for example, if one buys goods at an open-air market (provided it is established by custom or local law), even stolen goods are bought with good title. The original owner of the goods cannot reclaim them in a court action. It may be possible that some long-established 'car boot sales' would benefit from this rule.

The 'market overt' rule presumably came into being to allow freedom of trade in street markets. Lacking this safeguard, prospective purchaser may be deterred by the uncertain heritage of the goods on offer.

Land and Property Law